Published on 03/25/14

UGA's Plantapalooza offers new, unique plant varieties to Georgia gardeners

By Merritt Melancon

The Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and the UGA Horticulture Club will team up to host Northeast Georgia’s premier plant sale on April 5.

Plantapalooza, a series of three fundraising plant sales for the gardens and the horticulture club, will be held 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 5. The sales will be held concurrently at three different locations around the UGA campus in Athens — the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, the horticulture greenhouses on College Station Road and the Trial Gardens at UGA.

Hundreds of varieties of annuals, perennials, woody ornamentals, houseplants, herbs and vegetable seedlings will be available for purchase during the sales.

Professors, horticulture students, garden curators and Master Gardeners will be on hand to help gardeners select the right plants and answer questions.

This year, shoppers can earn up to a 15 percent discount at local nurseries by visiting all three sales. A full schedule for Plantapalooza 2014 and updates about the event can be found at or at

“Between being able to visit three different sales, being able to purchase a number of annuals and perennials that you probably won’t be able to find anywhere else, this is really a must see event for gardeners in north and middle Georgia,” said John Ruter, director of the Trial Gardens at UGA.

In addition to raising money for both gardens and for the UGA Horticulture Club’s academic programing, Plantapalooza serves as an annual spring showcase for the Trial Gardens at UGA.

This year marks Ruter’s first at the Trial Gardens and he is looking forward to highlighting his first crop of test plants.

Plant nurseries and breeding companies send hundreds of new plants each year to be planted at the garden to see if they can survive the temperature and rainfall variables of the Southeast. The garden is funded by the companies, who pay to have their plants evaluated by an outside source. The money goes toward employing a team of student workers who maintain the garden.

The garden also serves as an important teaching and research facility for the UGA Department of Horticulture and other academic departments.

Information about the three sale locations can be found at the following websites: The Trial Gardens at UGA,; The State Botanical Garden of Georgia,; and the UGA Horticulture Club,

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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